I am a law abiding citizen and yesterday one of my neighbours, an ordinary civilian, decided to take a stroll around our neighbourhood while openly carrying a legally owned and registered firearm in a holster on his hip. As he made his way through the street, many people noticed it, something which made me quite concerned. When I questioned him on this, he said he has licenses and permits to possess a firearm. Enlighten me on the laws surrounding carrying firearms in public.
A civilian may possess a firearm provided he/she is licenced in accordance with the Firearms and Ammunitions Act, 2015 and the Firearms and Ammunition Control Regulations, 2016. However, walking with a firearm by a civilian in public is not allowed even for persons with licenses and permits to possess firearms. Section 84 of the Penal Code [Cap.16 R.E 2022] provides that any person who goes armed in public without a lawful occasion in such a manner as to cause terror to any person commits an offence and his arm may be forfeited in case he is convicted of the offence of going armed in public.
A person lawfully possessing a firearm is responsible for the safe custody of his firearm as well as observing all conditions in which the firearm has to be kept. This includes ensuring that he/she does not recklessly display the firearm in public. Failure to fulfil this responsibility is an offence which is punishable by fine or imprisonment or both. The fact that he was openly carrying the firearm is not only wrong but also dangerous.